Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed on Saturday that comprehensive nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) will resume in mid-February.
Writing on his Facebook page, Zarif said, “We agreed with Mrs. Ashton (lead 5+1 negotiator Catherine Ashton) to hold the first meeting of Iran and the G5+1….We wanted to hold the meeting sooner, but the Chinese friends weren’t ready due to the Chinese New Year holidays.”
Meanwhile, prominent politicians, the Foreign Ministry, and the military continued their criticism of US Secretary John Kerry’s remark on Thursday that “military options are still on the table” if Iran does not adhere to November’s interim nuclear agreement.
“Obama knows better than anyone that the US is not in such a condition that it can launch a military attack against any country,” Esmail Kowsari, a member of Parliament’s National Security Committee, said on Saturday. “In case of a US military attack against Iran, all the US military bases in the regional countries will be turned into slaughterhouse of the American forces.”
The head of the committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, proclaimed, “The US lacks the ability to militarily confront the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham said Kerry’s comment violated international law and the United Nations Charter: “These remarks are undiplomatic, and a group that is opposed to the Geneva deal…seems to be having unconstructive influences on US authorities.”
And the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the US should understand Iran’s capacity for response: “Mr. Kerry must know that direct battle with the US is the biggest dream of pious and revolutionary people across the world. Your threats offer our revolutionary people the best opportunity.”
Jafari added that “wise politicians” in the United States are unlikely to let the “ridiculous military option” remain on the table.